linguistics is a term coined in the 20th century by the structuralist De Saussure. the term before was not used because language has been appraoched relation to other elements outside language in from antiquity to the 20th century. In the antiquity and specially in the greek tradition language was perceived from the poit of view of philosophy. One outstanding school is Plato theory of language in which he connected language to his world of IDEALS. this is one example from antiquity but examples from history are many. i advise you to have a look on Pieter A.M. Seuren book Western Linguistics An historical introduction. it is helpful to have further information on linguistics
1.The study of the nature, structure, and variation of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.
2. the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics.
3. the field is concerned with the nature of language and (linguistic) communication."